Gold & Silver Daily

Ed's Critical Reads

Sep 02, 2014

Two experts warn correction could total 60%

Markets could soon face a fall of up to 60 percent, two experts told CNBC on Wednesday.

A jolt to international confidence in central banks will lead to a 30 to 60 percent market decline, David Tice, president of Tice Capital and founder of the Prudent Bear Fund, told CNBC's "Power Lunch." When this happens, he said, markets will face a "period of extreme turmoil."

This crash will be precipitated, he said, by a disillusionment with the Federal Reserve's "confidence game," which will then see inflation rise, and the Fed scramble to raise rates. At that point, Tice added, "the Fed starts to lose control."

This news item appeared on the CNBC website last Wednesday---and I thank Orlando, Florida reader Dennis Mong for today's first story.

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A Rare Glimpse Inside the N.Y. Fed's Favorite 'Quote-Stuffing' Hedge Fund: Citadel

As regular readers are well aware, when it comes to "more than arms length" equity market intervention in New Normal markets, the New York Fed's preferred "intermediary" of choice to, how should one say, boost investor sentiment aka "protect from a plunge", is none other than Chicago HFT powerhouse, Citadel. Recently we discovered that the true culprit behind the May 2010 Flash Crash was not Waddell & Reed, but quote stuffing.

The most recent revelation for Citadel is that quote stuffing is not just some byproduct of some "innocuous" HFT strategy, as none other than the NASDAQ has now stated on the record, that the most leveraged hedge fund (at 9x regulatory to net assets), and the third largest after Bridgewater and Millennium, used quote stuffing as a "trading strategy." The following 2 clips give a sense of what goes on from day to day inside the firm that trades more volume than the NYSE every day...

This short Zero Hedge piece from Saturday contains two embedded video clips totalling 8 minutes---and they're both definitely worth your time.  I thank reader U.D. for passing it around.

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And The Best Performing Asset In August Was...

August is the month in which the third try for a global economic recovery officially snapped, with first China, then Europe and finally Latin America succumbing to pre-recession forces and/or outright contraction. Which, in the New Normal, is great news as it means more hopes for even greater imminent central bank easing and "stimulus" if only for the wealthiest (and also please ignore the fact that 6 years of more of the same has not worked, this time will be different). Which explains why August, otherwise the sleepiest month of the year, proved to be fairly strong with both equities and bonds moving higher in tandem.

In fact, the situation in Europe is so dire, that European government bonds yields reached/retested their record multi-century all time lows. As Deutsche Bank summarizes, the 10yr government bond yields for Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland declined by 27bp, 28bp, 26bp, 28bp and 11bp in August to 0.89%, 1.25%, 2.44%, 2.23% and 0.44% respectively.

Doug Noland mentioned 'all of the above' in his Credit Bubble Bulletin on Saturday, but here's the Zero Hedge spin on it courtesy of reader M.A.

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Eurozone manufacturing slows further in August

Manufacturing in the eurozone slumped in August to a 13-month low, a closely watched survey showed on Monday, in a further sign that recovery is faltering and that tensions with Russia are taking their toll.

Markit's purchasing managers' index (PMI) measure of output in the eurozone's manufacturing sectors fell to a figure of 50.7 in August, according to the final estimate.

That was still above the 50-point boom-or-bust mark and it compared with the previous flash reading of 50.8.

This AFP article appeared on the france24.com Internet site at 3:25 p.m. Europe time on Monday---and it's the first contribution of the day from South African reader B.V.  There was also a similar story on the businessinsider.com Internet site on Monday morning EDT.  It was headlined "The Bad News Out of Europe is Intensifying"---and that was courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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France Asks for More ECB Action to Weaken Overvalued Euro

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for more action from the European Central Bank to lower the value of the euro, amid concerns the 18-nation region might be headed toward deflation.

“The monetary policy has started to change,” Valls said today in a speech made at the Socialist Party’s summer school in La Rochelle, France. While he called the ECB’s package of measures taken in June a “strong signal,” he also said that “one will have to go even further.”

Valls’s comments come after ECB President Mario Draghi, who’ll meet French President Francois Hollande tomorrow in Paris, signaled this month that declining inflation (ECCPEST) expectations are pushing the central bank toward introducing quantitative easing. Policy makers will gather in Frankfurt on Sept. 4 for their monetary-policy meeting.

This Bloomberg story, co-filed from Paris, Frankfurt---and Berlin, appeared on their website at 11:03 a.m. Denver time on Saturday morning---and I found it over at the gata.org Internet site.

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Moldova Asks EU to Provide Its Farmers With Financial Assistance

Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca asked the European Union to provide Moldovan farmers with financial aid during a meeting with Stefan Fule, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, a spokesman for the Moldovan government told RIA Novosti Monday.

“European financial assistance was one of the main topics discussed by Leanca and Fule. The Commissioner stated that he would consider the possibility of Europe providing [Moldovan] farmers with financial help,” the spokesman said.

On July 18, Russia's agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor introduced temporary restrictions on fruit imports from Moldova.

On September 1, a law cancelling nullified duties for imports of certain Moldovan products to Russia, including wine, meat, vegetables, grain and fruit, came into effect. The law was drafted in order to protect the Russian market from an uncontrolled flow of European duty-free goods following Moldova’s signing of a free-trade agreement with the EU on June 27.

The above four paragraphs is all there is to this short article that was posted on the RIA Novosti website at 6:18 p.m. Moscow time on Monday---which was 10:18 a.m. EDT in New York.

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Mr. Tusk goes to Brussels - but can he save the EU?

The first Eastern European EU president, Donald Tusk faces difficult times ahead – and few credentials to suggest he is up to the job...

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will chair EU meetings as President of the European Council, with many hoping he will prove to be a pragmatic counterweight to the divisive Jean-Claude Juncker, who by his own admission held the Eurozone together with a tissue of lies when the crisis last flared up. For Tusk it is a remarkable story, the son of a carpenter from Gdansk, closely involved in his youth with the Solidarity movement which did so much to end Communist fiat and deliver freedom to the nations east of the River Oder.

A career politician, Tusk has tasted unique electoral success in modern Poland as the only prime minister to win reelection. Widely seen as a calm, likeable, rational figure, he has that air of the Tony Blair about him which appeals – for a while. Unfortunately, he shares the abject economic illiteracy of Mr Blair. Ironically, one of Tusk’s first utterances as EU Council President was to suggest Poland is on an accelerated route to the Euro... Had it not been for the zloty, his own economy would have endured a grinding recession after 2008. Hopefully, circumstances will prevent the Poles being shackled by this corrosive currency straitjacket.

This 'Op-Edge' piece appeared on the Russia Today Internet site at 8:40 a.m. Moscow time on their Monday morning---and it's the first contribution of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Sanctions Against Russia ‘Unproductive’ - France's National Assembly

EU sanctions against Russia are unfair and unproductive, according to Thierry Mariani, member of the National Assembly of France.

“I, and many of the other participants of today’s meeting, think that the sanctions imposed against Russia are unfair, unconstructive and unproductive,” Mariani said during a meeting between Sergei Naryshkin, Russia’s State Duma (lower house of parliament) Speaker, with French political and social activists in Paris Monday.

Over the past few months, the United States and the European Union introduced several rounds of targeted sanctions against the Russian economy, unjustifiably blaming Moscow for meddling in Ukraine’s internal affairs.

This short RIA Novosti story was posted on their Internet site just before midnight last night Moscow time, which was 3:52 p.m. EDT Monday afternoon.  It's courtesy of reader M.A.

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OSCE and Swiss politicians react to the Ukraine crisis

Continued emphasis on negotiation is needed in response to the tense situation between Ukraine and Russia, said Didier Burkhalter, President of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, on Friday. At present the organisation has no proof that Russian troops have invaded Ukraine, he said.

The OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine has established a base in Mariupol and will expand its monitoring activities in the region in order to provide objective information about  the situation, said Burkhalter, who is also the President and Foreign Minister of Switzerland.

“The OSCE and also Switzerland must always act in such a way that the possibility of easing tensions and de-escalation  exists. That is our role. We’ll continue to pursue it,” Burkhalter said Friday in an interview with Swiss public television, SRF.

“A diplomatic solution has to be found,” he said. “A military solution would be a catastrophe.”

This article appeared on the swissinfo.ch Internet site late on Friday evening Europe time---and it's another contribution from reader B.V.

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Russia demands publication of recordings from downed flight MH17

Russia is demanding to know why international investigators have yet to publish the black box data from a Malaysian airliner that was shot down over eastern Ukraine in July, a deputy defence minister said in an interview published on Saturday.

Moscow blames Ukraine for the disaster, in which all 298 passengers and crew were killed. In a version of events widely believed in the West, Ukraine says the Boeing 777 was shot down by pro-Russian separatists with a surface-to-air missile.

"The Boeing catastrophe throws up more and more questions. But lately not many people are talking about this," Anatoly Antonov, deputy defence minister, told RIA news agency.

"Why have the data still not been published about the conversations between the air traffic controllers and the pilots of the Boeing? Why haven't the data been presented from the international investigation of the black boxes? Who doesn't want this to happen?"

The way Antonov is talking, you'd think that he had been talking to me on the weekend.  All good questions with no answers---and he knows it.  This hard news story showed up on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site at 11:51 a.m. BST on Friday---and I thank reader 'h c' for bringing it to my attention, and now to yours.

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Gorbachev: Internal Ukrainian conflict can't be turned into inter-state one

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev believes Russia has not intervened in the events in southeastern Ukraine and is right in doing so.

"If our country intervenes, there could be a fire that the whole world would be unable to put out. And it's right that the politicians are holding to their position," Gorbachev said on Rossiyskaya Sluzhba Novostei (Russian News Service) on Saturday.

"Our proposal was to open passages and let people get out of all those entrapments. But no, someone is sitting in warm offices and intellectualizing. And at the same time - look what is happening to the people, to children and women. Maternity homes and schools are being shelled, hospitals are being destroyed. Two thousand people have been killed even according to official reports, and how many have been injured?" Gorbachev said.

He insisted that everything possible should be done to de-escalate the conflict.

This Interfax article appeared on the rbth.com Internet site at 11:30 p.m. Moscow time on their Saturday night---and I thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way.  It's definitely worth reading.

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Moscow ‘Shocked’ by Ukrainian Defense Minister’s Remarks of Looming Bloody War

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Monday it was “shocked” by the Ukrainian defense minister’s recent remarks, in which he warned of an imminent war between Russia and Ukraine that would lead to thousands of deaths.

“Moscow, of course, noted the remarks by the Ukrainian defense chief Valeriy Heletei, who claimed that ‘the operation to free east Ukraine from terrorists is over’ and announced the beginning of ‘the Great patriotic war’ that would leave ‘dozens of thousands’ dead. The degree of adequacy of the Ukrainian defense minister, who published this post on his Facebook page, requires a careful study, albeit not by military experts,” the Ministry said in a statement.

“Moreover, Heletei’s call to prepare for ‘dozens of thousands’ of victims in what he claims is the ‘Great patriotic war,’ but what de-facto is a new punitive operation in his country, leaves [us] deeply shocked. By [making] such [announcements], he drags the Ukrainian people into continuing civil conflict,” the statement reads.

Hetelei made the statement earlier today on his Facebook page.

This article, filed from Moscow, appeared on the RIA Novosti website at 11:15 p.m. on Monday evening local time---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.  There was a related Russia Today story headlined "Russia outraged after Kiev accuses Moscow of nuclear attack threats"---and Roy sent that one to me late yesterday evening.

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When the U.S. welched on Shevardnadze

Absent from U.S. media encomia for recently deceased former Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze is any mention of the historic deal he reached with his U.S. counterpart James Baker in 1990 ensuring that the Soviet empire would collapse "with a whimper, not a bang" (Mr. Baker's words).

Mr. Baker keeps repeating that the Cold War "could not have ended peacefully without Shevardnadze." But he and others are silent on the quid pro quo. The quid was Moscow's agreement to swallow the bitter pill of a reunited Germany in NATO; the quo was a U.S. promise not to "leapfrog" NATO over Germany farther East. Washington welched on the deal.

It began to unravel in October 1996 during the last weeks of President Bill Clinton's campaign for re-election. Mr. Clinton bragged that he would welcome Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic into NATO, explaining, "America truly is the world's indispensable nation" (and, sotto voce, can do what it wants).

Those three countries joined NATO in 1999, and by April 2009, nine more became members, bringing the post-Cold War additions to 12 — equal to the number of the original 12 NATO states. The additional nine included the former Baltic Republics that had been part of the USSR, but not Ukraine. NATO intentions, however, were made clear at its summit in Bucharest in April 2008, which formally declared, "Georgia and Ukraine will be in NATO."

This must read opinion piece showed up on the baltimoresun.com Internet site way back in mid-July of this year, but it's just as relevant now as it was back then.  I thank reader 'h c' for his second offering in today's column.

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The West, the greatest cause of War in human history, stands stripped of all Legitimacy — Paul Craig Roberts

The Donetsk National Republic States The Facts---“Every time you come to Russia with a sword, from a sword you will perish.”

The former Russian provinces, which Soviet party leaders carelessly attached to Ukraine at a time when it seemed to make no difference as all were part of the Soviet Union, are now independent republics with their own governments. The West pretends that this isn’t so, because Washington and its puppet capitals don’t recognize the independence of formerly captive peoples. But the West’s opinion no longer counts.

In the last couple of days the newly formed military units of the Donetsk National Republic have defeated and surrounded large portions of the remaining Ukrainian military. Russian President Putin asked the Donetsk Republic to allow the defeated Ukrainians to return home to their wives and mothers. The Donetsk Republic agreed to Putin’s mercy request as long as the Ukrainians left their weapons behind. The Donetsk Republic is short on weapons as, contrary to Western lies, the Donetsk Republic is not supplied with weapons by Russia.

Washington’s puppet government in Kiev declined the mercy extended to its troops and said they had to fight to the death. Shades of Hitler at Stalingrad. Western Ukraine has remained the repository of Nazism since 1945, and it is Western Ukraine with which Washington is allied against freedom and democracy.

I watched the entire press conference myself [closed captioned] on the weekend---and it's well worth your while if you have the time.

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How Can You Tell Whether Russia Has Invaded Ukraine? - Paul Craig Roberts

If you think that Russia is sending its regular units here, then let me tell you something. If Russia was sending its regular troops, we wouldn’t be talking about the battle of Elenovka here. We’d be talking about a battle of Kiev or a possible capture of Lvov.”  - Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk National Republic.

Lvov is in western Ukraine near the border with Poland. In other words, if Russia invades Ukraine, the fighting will move from the east side to the west side of the country.

As I observed in a recent column, the fantasy spread by Western governments and their media whores that 1,000 Russian troops have invaded Ukraine is the height of absurdity.

Despite the absurdity of the claim, some of the Western tabloids, which is what all Western newspapers now are, have declared these 1,000 troops to be a “full-scale invasion.” All of this nonsense is a buildup to the upcoming NATO conference in Wales. Disinformation is being used to create hysteria and justification for a NATO military buildup on Russia’s borders that could easily result in the final war.

The informationclearinghouse.com article embedded at the end of this brief Paul Craig Roberts piece is also worth reading---and the stories from Roy just keep on coming.

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Ex-NSA Director, U.S. Intelligence Veterans Write Open Letter to Merkel to Avoid All-Out Ukraine War

Alarmed at the anti-Russian hysteria sweeping Washington, and the specter of a new Cold War, U.S. intelligence veterans one of whom is none other than William Binney, the former senior NSA crypto-mathematician who back in March 2012 blew the whistle on the NSA's spying programs more than a year before Edward Snowden, took the unusual step of sending the following memo dated August 30 to German Chancellor Merkel challenging the reliability of Ukrainian and U.S. media claims about a Russian "invasion."

Via AntiWar and ConsortiumNews, highlights ours

MEMORANDUM FOR: Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany
FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)
SUBJECT: Ukraine and NATO

We, the undersigned, are longtime veterans of U.S. intelligence. We take the unusual step of writing this open letter to you to ensure that you have an opportunity to be briefed on our views prior to the NATO summit on September 4-5.

The must reads just keep on coming.  This one appeared on the Zero Hedge website at 8:55 p.m. EDT yesterday evening---and I thank reader M.A. for finding it for us.

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Lawmakers seek to fast track law on personal data storage in Russia

A group of State Duma MPs want to speed up the enforcement of the recently-approved law obliging all web firms, including social networks, to store the personal data of Russian users on the country’s territory.

The suggestion is being sponsored by lawmakers from parliamentary majority party United Russia, nationalist party LDPR and the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. They say that the bill, initially scheduled to come into force on September 1, 2016, must be introduced already on January 1, 2015, quoting security concerns and increasing pressure from foreign nations provoked by the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

MP Evgeny Fyodorov (United Russia) has said in an interview with mass circulation daily Izvestia that the faster Russia gets control over servers with users’ data, the more secure it would be against the attempts to influence its domestic politics from abroad.

The internet is a direct tool of the orange intervention and we all know that such intervention is followed by mass killings of tens of thousands of people,” the lawmaker said. “Internet campaigns are usually the first stage of the process and they are done through sanctions and through manipulations with foreign-based data centers. They censor and revise all events that take place in Russia. All information that is stored there can be used against Russia. Therefore, we must take these sites under national control in order to protect our country.”

This news story was posted on the Russia Today website at 10:10 a.m. Moscow time on their Monday morning---and it's another Roy Stephens offering.

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Putin breaks ground on Russia-China gas pipeline, world's biggest

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli have launched the construction of the first part of Gazprom’s Power of Siberia pipeline - which will deliver 4 trillion cubic meters of gas to China over 30 years.

“The new gas branch will significantly strengthen the economic cooperation with countries in the Asia-Pacific region and above all - our key partner China,” Putin said at the ceremony outside the city of Yakutsk - the capital of Russia's Republic of Yakutia on Monday.

Both President Putin and Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli signed the freshly-welded pipeline in a time-honored Russian tradition. The 'Power of Siberia' was welded together by workers from Chayanda gas field, overseen by CEO Aleksey Miller.

"Gazprom is always a reliable supplier of gas to its customers - which also applies to the ‘Power of Siberia," Miller said.

This article put in an appearance on the Russia Today website at 10:01 a.m. Moscow time yesterday---and it's the second last offering of the day from Roy Stephens.  The BBC also had a story about this.  It was headlined "Russia and China launch gas pipeline"---and it's courtesy of reader M.A.

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A Two-Faced Friendship: Turkey Is 'Partner and Target' for the NSA

Documents from the archive of US whistleblower Edward Snowden that SPIEGEL and The Intercept have seen show just how deeply involved America has become in Turkey's fight against the Kurds. For a time, the NSA even delivered its Turkish partners with the mobile phone location data of PKK leaders on an hourly basis. The US government also provided the Turks with information about PKK money flows and the whereabouts of some of its leaders living in exile abroad.

At the same time, the Snowden documents also show that Turkey is one of the United States' leading targets for spying. Documents show that the political leadership in Washington, DC, has tasked the NSA with divining Turkey's "leadership intention," as well as monitoring its operations in 18 other key areas. This means that Germany's foreign intelligence service, which drew criticism in recent weeks after it was revealed it had been spying on Turkey, isn't the only secret service interested in keeping tabs on the government in Ankara.

Turkey's strategic location at the junction of Europe, the Soviet Union, and the Middle East made the NATO member state an important partner to Western intelligence agencies going back to the very beginning of the Cold War. The Snowden documents show that Turkey is the NSA's oldest partner in Asia. Even before the NSA's founding in 1952, the CIA had established a "Sigint," or signals intelligence, partnership with Turkey dating back to the 1940s.

This very interesting essay appeared on the German website spiegel.de at noon on Sunday Europe time---and it's the final offering of the day from Roy Stephens, for which I thank him.

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Six King World News Blogs/Audio Interviews

1. John Ing: "Legend Warns We Are Set For Serious Fireworks in September"  2. Robert Fitzwilson: "Massive Global Earthquakes---and a Truly Terrifying Event"  3. Michael Pento: "Here is the Corrupt---and the Dangerous Endgame All Investors Face"  4. The first audio interview is with David Stockman---and the second audio interview is with Egon von Greyerz

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Gold hungry Indians boost imports in UAE

Among the most popular imports into the UAE in the first three months of the year, were gold and diamonds. The country’s consumers bought about 20,000 kilograms of the material, valued at around Dhirham 37.9 billion. Most of the buyers were Indian staying in the UAE, or those visiting the country.

The UAE’s non oil trade reached Dh 256 billion in the first quarter of 2014, reflecting the continuous momentum of the country’s non oil foreign trade, driven by stronger performance in all the economic sectors, preliminary data of the Federal Customs Authority (FCA) showed.

A World Gold Council report has also alluded to this. Total gold demand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reached 25.4 tonnes in the first quarter of 2014. The 16% increase from Q1 in 2013, was largely driven by Indian tourists choosing to buy gold in the UAE, rather than their homeland in an attempt to bypass the Indian gold import tax.

This gold-related article, filed from Mumbai, was posted on the mineweb.com Internet site yesterday.

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Some deferred gold-buying finally comes around in India

Manish Kedia, bullion retailer, said that with India's central bank allowing more entities to import gold, premiums have fallen and supplies have eased, much to the relief of buyers.

"Last year, Diwali was preceded by very high demand in the first half and imports hit a record in April and May. Jewellers also took a stand that they would not sell gold coins as anti gold sentiment was at its peak across the country,'' he added.

This year, he said the sentiment had changed and people who had deferred purchases were coming back to the market, albeit slowly.

With the Indian government reducing the import tariff value on gold and silver on Saturday, supplies would also be eased. Tariff value was reduced to $420 per 10 grams for gold and $645 per kilogram for silver. For the first fortnight of this month, the tariff value on imported gold was $426 per 10 grams, while that for silver was $650 per kilogram.

This is another gold-related story filed from Mumbai on Monday---and it, too, appeared on the mineweb.com Internet site.

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Koos Jansen: Chinese weekly gold demand highest since February

Off-take from the Shanghai Gold Exchange for the week ending August 22 was the most in 25 weeks, gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen reported on Friday. He estimates that the gold reserves of the People's Bank of China likely have reached 4,000 tonnes, while admitting that he has no hard data indicating such a total.

Jansen's commentary is headlined "Chinese Weekly Gold Demand Highest Since February"---and it was posted at bullionstar.com Internet site at 10:29 p.m. Singapore time on their Friday evening.  I found it in a GATA release on Saturday---and I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing 'all of the above.'

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China banks boost precious metals hoard amid lease demand

The value of precious metals held by China's biggest lenders surged 66 percent from a year ago as banks lease more gold to customers because tighter borrowing rules make it harder to lend funds.

Precious metals held by Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., Agricultural Bank of China Ltd., and Bank of China Ltd., the country's four biggest lenders, were worth 378 billion yuan ($62 billion) at the end of the second quarter, according to financial reports. The growth since last year outpaced the gain in benchmark bullion prices, which rose 7.5 percent over the same period.

China is seeking to rein in credit by raising borrowing costs and cutting off lending to sectors considered at risk of default amid a property slump and rising number of bad loans. That's prompting banks to hold more precious metals as they expand their gold-leasing business because it's not subject to loan caps and is considered off-balance sheet lending, according to Industrial Bank Co.

This very interesting Bloomberg article appeared on their website at 9:52 p.m. MDT yesterday evening---and I found it posted on the gata.org Internet site.

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New silver fix mechanism won't stop futures price suppression in New York, Speck says

Manipulation of the silver market has been greater than manipulation of the gold market, financial researcher and GATA consultant Dimitri Speck remarks in an interview with Gold and Silver Worlds.

He adds that this manipulation is not likely to be eliminated by the relatively minor changes in the mechanism used to establish the benchmark price in London, since the manipulation is heaviest in the futures market in New York.

The interview with Speck is headlined "Can the New Silver Fix End the Ongoing Silver Price Manipulation?" and it was posted on the goldsilverworlds.com Internet site last Thursday---and it's certainly a must read.  The charts alone are worth your time.

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Central banks get discounts for trading EVERYTHING through CME Group and Comex

Zero Hedge reports that Eric Scott Hunsader, founder of market data research firm Nanex in Winnetka, Illinois, which exposed the algorithm trading responsible for the flash crash in gold futures on January 6 this year has discovered documentation at the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission showing that CME Group, operator of various futures markets, including the New York Commodity Exchange (Comex), has been providing to central banks outside the United States, since at least July 1, 2013, a program of discounts for trading equity market, bond market, and commodity market futures, including gold and silver futures.

The documentation consists of a letter, dated January 29 this year, from CME Group's managing director and chief regulatory counsel, Christopher Bowen, notifying the CFTC of changes to the discount trading program for central banks. In his letter, Bowen insists, "The program's incentive structure does not impact the exchanges' ability to perform their trade practice and market surveillance obligations under the CEA [Commodity Exchange Act]. The exchanges' market regulation staff will monitor trading in the program's products to prevent manipulative trading and market abuse."

This absolute must read Zero Hedge item showed up embedded in a GATA release on Saturday---and it's by far the most important story in today's column.  The link to the actual CME/CFTC document confirming all of this, is posted on the CFTC's website here.

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Aug 30, 2014

Butter Prices Reach All-Time High Amid Smaller Stockpiles

Butter futures reached an all-time high in Chicago as Americans’ rising appetite for the fatty dairy spread and rising exports erode U.S. inventories.

Domestic consumption is projected to rise 0.8 percent to 788,000 metric tons in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That would be the second-highest ever in data going back to 1965. Shipments in the first six months of the year were up 42 percent from 2013. Demand is rising as milk production trailed analyst expectations, while fat content, used to make butter, is also dropping, according to Eric Meyer, the president of Chicago-based High Ground Dairy.

Consumers have increased purchases for five straight years, while margarine sales dropped, according to researcher Nielsen NV. The gains left U.S. stockpiles in July 42 percent lower than a year earlier, USDA data show. Tight butter supplies are contributing to higher costs for buyers including Panera Bread Co.

“Ultimately, there’s good demand for cream-based products that’s tightening up the market,” Dave Kurzawski, a Chicago-based senior broker at INTL FCStone Inc., said in a telephone interview. “We haven’t had a tremendous amount of milk to deal with either, and the quality of fat in milk has gone down.”

This Bloomberg story appeared on their website at 10:13 a.m. EDT on Friday morning---and today's first article is courtesy of Howard Wiener.

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Doug Noland: Pondering the Summers of 2012 and 2014

The gulf between inflating global securities prices and deteriorating fundamental prospects widens by the week.

I’d been awaiting a German response to all the Draghi Q.E. jubilation. It is notable that it came from Finance Minister Schaeuble and not Bundesbank President Weidmann. Expectations for aggressive ECB monetary inflation do come at the same time as the anti-German “austerity” movement becomes increasingly clamorous. At the end of the day, I still don’t see how the French, Italians and Germans (among others) share a common currency. The cultures – the views on so many things, including how wealth is created (and shared), how economies should function, and how monetary and fiscal affairs must be managed – are inconsistent and often conflicting. At some point, somebody – the “periphery” countries, the French and Italians, or perhaps the German people - will say “enough is enough – this is not sustainable.”

In this age of monetary inflationism, the Germans provide a veritable oasis of sanity. At its best, “monetary policy can only buy time.” At its worst – the current reality – over time it buys problematic out-of-control Bubbles. Why would European banks partake in higher risk lending for business investment when they can make seemingly risk-free profits buying sovereign bonds? For that matter, why would American CEOs invest in plant and equipment at home when so much “wealth” is created buying back their stock? Meanwhile, two years of massive global monetary stimulus has prolonged historic investment booms in China and throughout much of Asia. This has exacerbated Bubbles, while only worsening the global pricing backdrop and capital investment environments elsewhere. Global imbalances have worsened.

Monetary policy promised way too much back in 2012. As I’ve written repeatedly, at this stage of a most spectacular and protracted Credit cycle, monetary inflation can only make things worse. Where does it end? And not for a minute do I believe the alarming rise in geopolitical risk and instability is unrelated to years of prolonged global monetary disorder. Mismanagement of the world’s reserve currency is replete with huge consequences. Mismanagement of all the world’s major currencies is a complete fiasco.

This absolute must read commentary by Doug was posted on the prudentbear.com Internet site early on Friday evening---and I thank reader U.D. for passing it around.

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Jim Rickards interviewed by Money Morning

This video interview is first rate---and a must watch.  But let me warn you right up front, dear reader, this ends up as an infomercial, so keep you hand firmly on your wallet when the advert shows up on your screen.  The presentation, including the embedded infomercial, runs for 45 minutes.   I thank Harold Jacobsen for sharing it with us.

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Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast

An oil tanker loaded with $100 million of disputed Iraqi Kurdish crude has disappeared of the coast of Texas in the latest development in a high stakes game of cat-and-mouse between Baghdad and the Kurds.

The AIS ship tracking system used by the U.S. Coast Guard and Reuters on Thursday showed no known position for the United Kalavrvta, which was carrying 1 million barrels of crude and 95 percent full when it went dark.

Several other tankers carrying disputed crude from Iran or Iraqi Kurdistan have unloaded cargoes after switching off their transponders, which makes their movements hard to track.

Days ago, the partially full Kamari tanker carrying Kurdish crude disappeared from satellite tracking north of Egypt's Sinai. It reappeared empty two days later near Israel.

This interesting news item appeared on the independent.co.uk Internet site on Friday---and it's the first offering of the day from South African reader B.V.

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The Time is Ripe For a False-Flag Attack on American Soil

Why do I believe a new false-flag event is imminent? America has not suffered a large scale terrorist attack for over 13 years, after all. I can only say that current trends and international developments seem to be spiraling towards a breaking point; a kind of singularity, and if you understand that the majority of these events are deliberately engineered, then you also understand that the inevitable singularity (or primary disaster) is engineered as well.

The foremost current threat and most useful scapegoat is, of course, the ISIS insurgency in the Middle East. If one's source of information was the mainstream media alone, one might be inclined to believe that ISIS has materialized out of nowhere to become a menace so organized and effective it has eclipsed Al-Qaeda as the hot button boogeyman used by the establishment. ISIS is certainly a disturbing militant group that goes out of its way to play the villain, complete with scary Muslim clothing and beards, not to mention the severed heads and indiscriminate genocide. Where is Jack Bauer when you need him, right?

The cartoonish nature of ISIS is not accidental, but I can see why they frighten a subset of the American population; if I didn't know that they were funded by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, with military aid from Israel, then I might find them a terrifying enigma as well.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was held at a U.S. run detention facility called Camp Bucca from 2005 until 2009. Before his imprisonment, Baghdadi's friends and family reported him to be a “quiet, studious fellow who was also a talented soccer player”. Only one year after being released from U.S. detention, however, he was a fanatical Islamic extremist who would go on to command the ISIS caliphate. In 2011, the U.S. State Department listed Bagdhadi as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” with a bounty of $10 million. There is no public record as to why Baghdadi was originally detained.

Former U.S. Air Force security officer, James Skylar Gerrond, served at Camp Bucca while Bagdhadi was held there, and is quoted as saying "Many of us at Camp Bucca were concerned that instead of just holding detainees, we had created a pressure cooker for extremism." Indeed...

This commentary by Brandon Smith, which is definitely worth reading, was posted on the Zero Hedge website at 5:59 p.m. EDT on Friday---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

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U.K. Raises Terror Threat Level to Severe (From Substantial)

U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that a terrorist attack on the U.K. is :"highly likely," although stressed that there is no information to suggest an attack is imminent:

  • *UK TERROR THREAT LEVEL RAISED TO SEVERE FROM SUBSTANTIAL
  • *REAL AND SERIOUS THREAT IN THE UK FROM TERRORISM, MAY SAYS

Her decision is based on the latest intelligence from Syria and Iraq (and we suspect, as Brandon Smith notes, "the goal will be to terrify you and those around you into seeking out a more powerful, more centralized government authority to protect your security.")

This short article was also posted on the Zero Hedge website.  This one showed up there at 9:08 a.m. EDT on Friday morning---and it's the second contribution of the day from reader B.V.

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Schaeuble Sees Draghi’s Instruments for Growth Exhausted

The European Central Bank has run out of ways to help the euro area, putting the burden on governments to spur growth without running excessive deficits, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television at the Medef business leaders’ conference near Paris, Schaeuble said he agrees “100 percent” with ECB President Mario Draghi’s appeals for governments in the 18-country currency union to complement monetary policy with “structural reforms” to boost competitiveness and overcome the legacy of Europe’s debt crisis.

‘‘Monetary policy can only buy time,’’ Schaeuble said in the interview yesterday. “Liquidity in markets is not too low, it’s even too high. Therefore I think monetary policy has come to the end of its instruments and therefore what we urgently need is investments, regaining confidence by investors, by markets, by consumers.”

Someone finally admitted the obvious.  Doug Noland quoted this Thursday Bloomberg article at length in his weekly Credit Bubble Bulletin posted further up.  It certainly falls into the must read category---and I found this story embedded in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

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U.K. Wants E.U. to Block Russia From SWIFT Banking Network

The U.K. will press European Union leaders to consider blocking Russian access to the SWIFT banking transaction system under an expansion of sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine, a British government official said.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, known as SWIFT, is one of Russia’s main connections to the international financial system. Prime Minister David Cameron’s government plans to put the topic on the agenda for a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels today, according to the official, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

“Blocking Russia from the SWIFT system would be a very serious escalation in sanctions against Russia and would most certainly result in equally tough retaliatory actions by Russia,” said Chris Weafer, a senior partner at Moscow-based consulting firm Macro Advisory. “An exclusion from SWIFT would not block major trade deals but would cause problems in cross-border banking and that would disrupt trade flows.”

This Bloomberg article, filed from Brussels, showed up on their Internet site at 4 p.m. MDT on Friday afternoon---and I extracted it from a Zero Hedge piece that Roy Stephens sent our way.

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Today's European Leaders Lack Independence – President Putin

Current European leaders are unable to behave independently, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday.

“But if today’s leaders of Europe are far from being able to show independence, then that doesn’t mean that this trend has failed. Regardless this trend to independence, to sovereignty, to their own opinions, to standing up for their own positions: this is growing and will continue to grow in the future. It’s a shame that not everyone from our colleagues in the West notice this,” Putin said.

The European countries have been pressured since the crisis in Ukraine escalated, when the United States urged the European Union to follow its lead and impose tougher sanctions against Russia.

This RIA Novosti story appeared on their website at 6:43 p.m. Moscow time on their Friday evening, which was 10:43 a.m. in New York.  It's another article from Roy Stephens.

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Russia warns E.U. of Ukraine gas shortage

Russia says there is a risk that gas shortages this winter could force Ukraine to siphon off supplies of Russian gas meant for EU customers.

Ukraine's gas reserves have reached a "critical" state, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.

He was speaking after talks in Moscow with EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger. The EU is anxious to ensure secure gas supplies for the winter.

Ukraine needs to store much more gas underground, Mr Novak said.

This article put in an appearance on the bbc.com Internet site at 8:22 EDT yesterday---and it's another offering from reader B.V.

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Ukraine must ensure gas transit to Europe - E.U. energy chief

Russian-E.U. gas talks have progressed, but no solution was reached Friday over Russia and Ukraine’s gas standoff. Moscow says their $100 gas discount to Kiev stands, and the EU doesn’t want gas negotiations to be used to escalate the Ukraine crisis.

The gas situation is ‘critical’ Russia’s Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak said after meeting with EU energy chief Gunther Oettinger in Moscow on Friday. The minister expressed concern about Ukraine’s preparations for the winter months as gas supplies dwindle, and warned Kiev might siphon off Europe-bound deliveries.

Russia said the will resume gas deliveries to Ukraine if they pay $1.45 billion of their gas debt, Aleksey Miller, CEO of Gazprom, said. Naftogaz, Ukraine's national oil and gas company, has a total debt of $5.3 billion.

Russia again offered Kiev a $100 gas price discount, bringing the total price down to $385 per 1,000 cubic meters, a lower price it charges any of its European customers. However, before Gazprom can offer the discount, Kiev has to begin repaying their debt.

This news item appeared on the Russia Today website at 9:07 a.m. Moscow time on their Friday morning---and it's courtesy of Roy Stephens.

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Iraq conflict: Kurds 'recapture oilfields from IS'

The attack on the three Ain Zalah installations began on Thursday morning, they said, but the militants blew them all up as they retreated.

The area is part of a large swathe of territory in northern Iraq overrun by Islamic State in recent weeks.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces backed by US air strikes have regained some ground, including the vital Mosul dam.

This news item appeared on the bbc.com Internet site on Friday---and I thank reader B.V. for bringing it to our attention.

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Henry Kissinger on the Assembly of a New World Order

The concept that has underpinned the modern geopolitical era is in crisis.

Libya is in civil war, fundamentalist armies are building a self-declared caliphate across Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan's young democracy is on the verge of paralysis. To these troubles are added a resurgence of tensions with Russia and a relationship with China divided between pledges of cooperation and public recrimination. The concept of order that has underpinned the modern era is in crisis.

The search for world order has long been defined almost exclusively by the concepts of Western societies. In the decades following World War II, the U.S.—strengthened in its economy and national confidence—began to take up the torch of international leadership and added a new dimension. A nation founded explicitly on an idea of free and representative governance, the U.S. identified its own rise with the spread of liberty and democracy and credited these forces with an ability to achieve just and lasting peace. The traditional European approach to order had viewed peoples and states as inherently competitive; to constrain the effects of their clashing ambitions, it relied on a balance of power and a concert of enlightened statesmen. The prevalent American view considered people inherently reasonable and inclined toward peaceful compromise and common sense; the spread of democracy was therefore the overarching goal for international order. Free markets would uplift individuals, enrich societies and substitute economic interdependence for traditional international rivalries.

This effort to establish world order has in many ways come to fruition. A plethora of independent sovereign states govern most of the world's territory. The spread of democracy and participatory governance has become a shared aspiration if not a universal reality; global communications and financial networks operate in real time.

This essay by Henry appeared on The Wall Street Journal website at 12:04 p.m. EDT on Friday afternoon---and it's a must read for sure.  I'm not sure whether this an obituary for The New World Order crowd, or a call to arms before the possibility slips from their grasp.  One thing is for sure, is that Henry isn't speaking to the average world citizen, but to his own peer group, so you can read into this whatever you wish.  This story was sent to us by reader M.A.---and I thank him on your behalf.

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Brazil's economy falls into recession, latest figures show

Brazil has fallen into recession, just a month before the general election, latest figures show.

Economic output, GDP, fell by 0.6% in the three months to June, worse than analysts had predicted, and revised figures for the first quarter of the year also showed a fall of 0.2%.

A recession is usually defined as two consecutive quarters of contraction.

The news will be damaging for the government of President Dilma Rousseff.

This article put in an appearance on the bbc.com Internet site at 9:54 a.m. EDT on Friday---and it's the final contribution of the day from reader B.V.

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Which Country Drinks the Most Alcohol?

It has been established that the most expensive beer in the world is sold in Norway, while the cheapest can be chugged in Poland. But in which country is the most alcohol drunk?

Stereotypes and anecdotes abound: the English are always drunk, especially on vacation; the Russians have vodka for breakfast; the Germans dress up in leather just to drink beer. The French invented Champagne, and the Chinese enjoy drinking it.

None of this is enough to name the people of any nation the world's biggest boozers. Luckily there is data, published by the World Health Organization, to give us the answer. The chart above details the countries that consume the most, and least, alcohol per capita. Cheers! Or, as they say in Belarus...well, here's the list.

This interesting item appeared on The Wall Street Journal website of all places---and the embedded chart is worth a look.  It was posted there on Friday, August 22---and reader M.A. sent it our way last Monday.  It's also his last offering in today's column---and for obvious reasons it had to wait until today.

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Three King World News Blogs

1. Ronald-Peter Stoferle: "This Unprecedented Monetary Experiment Will End Very Badly"  2. Egon von Greyerz: "$280 Trillion Debt, $1.5 Quadrillion Derivatives---and a Gold Squeeze"  3. David Stockman: "Unprecedented Global Financial Wipe Out Is Coming"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Koos Jansen: Precious metals markets -- China vs. U.S.

Gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen today compares the growth of China's gold and silver markets to the Comex futures market in the United States, noting that the governor of the People's Bank of China says "gold still bears the marked nature of money under the modern financial system."

Jansen's analysis is headlined "Precious Metals Markets: China vs. U.S." and it was posted on the bullionstar.com Internet site at 9:28 p.m. Singapore time on their Wednesday evening.

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Sprott's Thoughts: Rick Rule---A Briefing on Private Placements

Some investors are able to participate in private placements, where a company raises money by offering new shares. For U.S. investors to participate in a private placement, they must be suitably qualified for the offering. Suitability depends on the exemptions under the Securities Act of 1933 through which the company is able to offer new shares. This loosely means that the investor must meet a certain threshold of net worth, income, or investable assets in order to participate.

Private placements may be done by private or publicly trading companies. When a public company issues shares in a private placement, the new shares are not freely tradable, but must be held for a specified period of time, and must have their trading restriction lifted by the issuer’s legal counsel before they can be sold.

Rick Rule believes that if you’re able to take part in these transactions, they could be attractive ways to take advantage of a recovery in natural resources

This commentary appeared on the sprottglobal.com Internet site on Friday afternoon.

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Odyssey Marine Releases Preliminary List of Numismatic Items Recovered from S.S. Central America

Central America was a 280-foot steamship that carried passengers and bullion from Panama to ports on the Eastern seaboard of the United States.

The ship sank after it was caught in a September 1857 hurricane. More than 420 of the 550 people on board died. The sinking was the worst shipwreck in American history–a short-lived distinction as the sinking of the S.S. Sultana in 1865 took the lives of more than 1,500 people.

As CoinWeek reported earlier, the April 15, 2014 reconnaissance dive turned up five gold ingots and two $20 double eagle gold coins. Recovery efforts were threatened after a legal claim filed on behalf of the Columbus-America Discovery Group. Odyssey Marine continued their recovery efforts throughout the proceedings and a U.S District Court in Virginia dismissed the case.

In the report, recovery work that took place between April 15 and May 8, 2014 yielded more than 800 gold coins and a cache of nearly 10,000 silver coins, including 8,931 dimes. However, the company’s most recent communication to CoinWeek reveals that the firm’s efforts have turned up and extensive accumulation of gold and silver objects.

This very interesting article showed up on the coinweek.com Internet site at 1:46 p.m. EDT on Thursday---and my thanks go out to reader Ken Hurt for sending it along.

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Aug 29, 2014

U.S. Economic growth for the Q2 revised up to 4.2%

The economy expanded even more rapidly than previously estimated in the second quarter, the government said Thursday.

The nation's gross domestic product grew at a 4.2% annual rate, vs. the surprisingly strong 4% pace initially believed, the Commerce Department said. Economists expected a revision to 3.9%.

The higher growth estimate was due to stronger business investment of 8.4%, up from the 5.5% initially believed. Equipment spending — a measure of core capital spending — increased 10.7%.

If you believe this, dear reader, then you'll obviously believe any type of shameless propaganda that comes out of Washington.  This news item appeared on the usatoday.com Internet site at 6:14 p.m. EDT yesterday, which is amazing since Casey Research's own Louis James passed it around late yesterday morning Denver time, its' obviously been edited in the interim.

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Pessimism on Economy Has Grown Since Recession: Survey

Americans are more anxious about the economy now than they were right after the Great Recession ended despite stock market gains, falling unemployment and growth moving closer to full health.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say they think the recession exerted a permanent drag on the economy, according to a survey being released Thursday by Rutgers University. By contrast, in November 2009, five months after the recession officially ended, the Rutgers researchers found that only 49 percent thought the downturn would have lasting damage.

And that was when the unemployment rate was 9.9 percent, compared with the current 6.2 percent.

"They're more negative than they were five years ago," said Rutgers public policy professor Carl Van Horn.

This article put in an appearance on the moneynews.com Internet site at 12:02 p.m. EDT on Thursday---and it's courtesy of West Virginia reader Elliot Simon.

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"The Buyback Party is Over" - Albert Edwards Warns the "Market is Now Running on Fumes"

While we have yet to do the actual math on the now-concluded second quarter earnings season, to find out if spending on buybacks surpassed the Q1 record, one thing is still quite clear: with the impact of Fed's QE fading, if only for the time being, buybacks remain the marginal driver, and according to some only driver, of stock market upside in 2014.

However one person who has decided not to wait in declaring the buyback party over, is SocGen's Albert Edwards, the same person who correctly forecast back in late 2012 the epic scramble by investment grade (and high yield) companies to lever up, incidentally, to record levels crushing all the endless blather that there is some massive corporate deleveraging going on.

This is what Edwards said in his latest note:  "Much has happened over the summer, but two landmark firsts have occurred only recently, with the S&P500 breaking above 2,000 and the 10y bund yield breaking below 1%. Our Ice Age thesis has long called for sub-1% bond yields and I see this extending to the US and UK in due course. It is the equity markets where I have been consistently surprised. QE has been an essential driver for the equity market, providing the fuel for the heavy corporate bond issuance being used for share buybacks. Companies themselves have been the only substantive buyers of equity, but the most recent data suggests that this party is over and as profits also stall out, the equity market is now running on fumes."

This Zero Hedge piece, with some excellent charts, was posted on their website at 12:51 p.m. EDT yesterday---and I thank reader U.D. for passing it around.

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Here Come the Helicopters! The Establishment Goes All-In For a Keynesian Money Drop

The house organ for the Council of Foreign Relations, Foreign Affairs, has published its final solution under the title: “Print Less and Transfer More: Why Central Banks Should Give Money directly to the People.”  Written under the names Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan, but trumpeting the establishment voice of, say, Martin Wolf, they state:

"It’s well past time, then, for U.S. policymakers – as well as their counterparts in other developed countries -  to consider a version of Friedman’s helicopter drops…. Many in the private sector don’t want to take out any more loans; they believe their debt levels are already too high. That’s especially bad news for central bankers: when households and businesses refuse to rapidly increase their borrowing, monetary policy can’t do much to increase their spending…. Governments must do better. Rather than trying to spur private-sector spending through asset purchases or interest-rate changes, central banks, such as the Fed, should hand consumers cash directly…. The transfers wouldn’t cause damaging inflation, and few doubt that they would work. The only real question is why no government has tried them.”

This guest commentary by Frederick Sheehan appeared on David Stockman's website yesterday sometime---and I thank Roy Stephens for pointing it out.

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Chris Martenson: I Blame the Central Banks

The current bubbles in financial assets -- in equities and bonds of all grades and quality -- raging in every major market across the globe are no accident.

They are a deliberate creation. The intentional results of policy.

Therefore, when they burst, we shouldn't regard the resulting damage as some freak act of nature or other such outcome outside of our control. To reiterate, the carnage will be the very predictable result of some terribly shortsighted decision-making and defective logic.

Blame can and should be laid where it belongs: with the central banks.

This excellent 2-part commentary was posted on the peakprosperity.com Internet site at 8:17 p.m. on Wednesday evening.  The second part is free, but you have to sign up to read it, so you'll end up on his mailing list.  Part 1 is definitely worth reading---and I thank reader U.D. for his second contribution to today's column.

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JPMorgan and Other Banks Struck by Hackers

A number of United States banks, including JPMorgan Chase and at least four others, were struck by hackers in a series of coordinated attacks this month, according to four people briefed on a continuing investigation into the crimes.

The hackers infiltrated the networks of the banks, siphoning off gigabytes of data, including checking and savings account information, in what security experts described as a sophisticated cyber attack.

The motivation and origin of the attacks are not yet clear, according to investigators. The F.B.I. is involved in the investigation, and in the past few weeks a number of security firms have been brought in to conduct forensic studies of the penetrated computer networks.

According to two other people briefed on the matter, hackers infiltrated the computer networks of some banks and stole checking and savings account information from clients. It was not clear whether the attacks were financially motivated, or if they were collecting intelligence as part of an espionage effort. Aside from JPMorgan, it was also not immediately clear which other banks were infiltrated.

This was posted on The New York Times website on Wednesday---and I'll leave it up to you to decide how much of this might be true.  It's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.   Elliot Simon sent us this moneynews.com story from Thursday on the same issue.  It's headlined "Russian Hackers Said to Attack Five Banks Seeking Customer Data"

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The cost to renounce U.S. citizenship going up 500 percent

Reader Patty Kosters sent me the link to the relevant U.S. State Department web page where it shows all the new fees.  So if you are sitting on the fence, you've got until September 12 to get out at the old price, which is a bargain at $450.00.

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Argentina Proclaims Peso Devaluation "Obviously Won't Happen" - Just Like it "Vowed" in 2013

May 2013, President Kirchner: "As long as I'm president, those who want to make money through devaluations, which other people have to pay for, will have to keep waiting for another government,"

Jan 2014: Argentina Devaluation Sends Currency Tumbling Most in 12 Years

Aug 2014: Argentina’s Cabinet Chief Jorge Capitanich said today a devaluation of the peso, "obviously won't happen."

So what's next?

This Zero Hedge article appeared on their website at 9:49 a.m. EDT on Thursday---and I thank reader M.A. for bringing it to our attention.

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E.U. widens aid to dairy exporters hit by Russia food ban

The E.U. has announced emergency help for dairy producers hit by the Russian ban on food imports from the E.U.

The move follows E.U. aid worth €125m (£100m; $170m) announced earlier for fruit and vegetable exporters.

The European Commission will help pay storage costs for butter and skimmed milk powder. E.U. aid will also extend to certain cheeses. Last year E.U. cheese sales to Russia were nearly €1bn.

The biggest E.U. dairy exporters to Russia in 2013 were: the Netherlands (€301m), Finland (€253m), Germany (€184m) and Lithuania (€160m).

This article showed up on the bbc.com Internet site at 8:46 a.m. EDT on Thursday---and I thank South African reader B.V. for sending it along.

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Moscow Says Swiss Sanctions Groundless, Contradict Switzerland’s Interests

Switzerland’s decision to expand its blacklist of sanctions against Russian individuals and companies is groundless and damages Switzerland’s own interests, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Thursday.

“We consider this decision by Bern unfounded. It shows that Switzerland continues to copy anti-Russian U.S. and E.U. measures to the detriment of its own interests,” the statement reads.

Switzerland on Wednesday increased sanctions against Russia over the situation in Ukraine to blacklist 11 individuals, six banks and two companies.

This article appeared on the RIA Novosti website at 7:28 p.m. Moscow time on their Thursday evening, which was 11:28 a.m. in New York.

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Washington Piles Lie Upon Lie — Paul Craig Roberts

The latest Washington lie, this one coming from NATO, is that Russia has invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops and self-propelled artillery.

How do we know that this is a lie? Is it because we have heard nothing but lies about Russia from NATO, from U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, from assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland, from Obama and his entire regime of pathological liars, and from the British, German, and French governments along with the BBC and the entirety of the Western media?

This, of course, is a good reason for knowing that the latest Western propaganda is a lie. Those who are pathological liars don’t suddenly start telling the truth.

But there are even better reasons for understanding that Russia has not invaded Ukraine with 1,000 troops.

Paul holds nothing back here---and this must read commentary appeared on his website on Thursday.  I thank Roy Stephens for finding it for us.

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Pepe Escobar: From Minsk to Wales, Germany is the key

The road to the Minsk summit this past Tuesday began to be paved when German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked to ARD public TV after her brief visit to Kiev on Saturday.

Merkel emphasized, “A solution must be found to the Ukraine crisis that does not hurt Russia.”

She added that "There must be dialogue. There can only be a political solution. There won't be a military solution to this conflict.”

Merkel talked about “decentralization” of Ukraine, a definitive deal on gas prices, Ukraine-Russia trade, and even hinted Ukraine is free to join the Russia-promoted Eurasian Union (the E.U. would never make a “huge conflict” out of it). Exit sanctions; enter sound proposals.

This is another excellent must read commentary.  This right-on-the-money 'Op Edge' piece appeared on the Russia Today Internet site at 9:27 a.m. Moscow time on their Thursday morning---and I thank reader U.D. for his third contribution to today's column.

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White House Rushes to Clarify After Obama Said 'We Don't Have A Strategy Yet' For ISIS

The White House is pushing back after President Barack Obama's stated his administration currently doesn't have "a strategy" for dealing with the jihadist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and drew headlines across the country.

"I don't want to put the cart before the horse," Obama said at a press briefing late Thursday afternoon. "We don't have a strategy yet."

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest subsequently insisted that Obama specifically articulated a "comprehensive strategy" for dealing with the Islamic State during the briefing.  

Earnest quickly scheduled an appearance on CNN during which he argued Obama was simply referencing the U.S. options against the Islamic State in Syria — not in Iraq.

This article appeared on the businessinsider.com Internet site at 6:04 p.m. EDT on Thursday evening---and it's another contribution from Roy Stephens.

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The Leninist in the White House — Paul Craig Roberts

According to Lenin, the Soviet government rested “directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws, nor any absolute rules.” (V.I. Lenin, “A Contribution to the History of the Question of the Dictatorship,” October 20, 1920, in Collected Works, 4th Russian edition, p. 326.)

In the 21st century the U.S. government has echoed Lenin. No laws, domestic or international, restrain the US from torture. Laws do not prevent the US from attacking sovereign countries or from conducting military operations within the borders of sovereign countries. Constitutional protections and due process do not prevent the US from detaining citizens indefinitely or from murdering them on suspicion or accusation alone.

The latest manifestation of Washington’s Leninism is Washington’s announcement that the US government has no plans to coordinate US attacks on ISIS on Syrian territory with the Syrian government. Washington recognizes no limitations on its use of force, and the sovereignty of countries provides no inhibition.

In Washington coercion has supplanted the rule of law.

Here's another must read from Paul.  This one appeared on his Internet site on Wednesday---and I thank reader M.A. for his final contribution to today's column.

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Falling Housing Prices Are Causing Violent Protests in China

In a sign of growing public concern over fluctuations in the country’s housing market, homeowners in two Chinese cities gathered over the weekend to demonstrate against plans by property developers to make steep price cuts even as the industry has recently struggled to attract buyers.

According to website MarketWatch, a crowd of homeowners surrounded the Shanghai sales office of property developer Greentown China Holdings Ltd. to protest a 25 percent drop in home values owned by the company. Meanwhile in Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, owners unfurled banners to protest a similar cut and clashed with counter-protesters organized by the real-estate company.

China's economy, the world’s second largest behind the United States, is highly dependent on its real estate sector, which accounts for between 16 percent and 20 percent of China's gross domestic product growth. Because of strict capital controls and a volatile stock market, Chinese citizens invest a significant portion of their surplus income into real estate: Despite widespread rural poverty, China’s home ownership rate is 90 percent (compared to 65 percent in the U.S.). Meanwhile, local governments lend money to property developers, whose investment in steel, cement and other commodities fuels politically desirable GDP growth. As a result, rows of apartment buildings -- often lacking residents -- dot the landscape in China’s major cities, creating widespread concerns of a bubble.

This very interesting news item was posted on the International Business Times website on Wednesday---and I found it embedded in yesterday's edition of the King Report.

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Japan economy stalls as incomes, spending languish

Japan's vital signs remained weak in July as wages fell further and household spending dropped, signaling continued weakness in the world's third-largest economy.

Data released Friday showed the inflation rate was unchanged from the previous month. The core price consumer index that excludes volatile fresh food prices rose 3.3 percent in July, the same as a month earlier. Much of the increase stems from a 2 percentage point increase in Japan's sales tax in April, which has since sapped much of the steam from the country's economic recovery.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the government and central bank have sought to spur inflation on the premise that it would goad businesses and consumers into spending more instead of saving money in anticipation the Japan's deflationary spiral will guarantee lower prices in the future.

That strategy, dubbed "Abenomics," has made some headway in ending the long spell of deflation that slowed growth for much of the past two decades. But headline inflation remains below the official target of 2 percent, excluding the boost from the tax hike, and so far there are only scant signs of the desired "virtuous cycle" of higher corporate spending to sustain growth in the long term.

So much for 'Q.E. to infinity' Japan style.  This AP story put in an appearance on their website at 10:59 p.m. EDT last night---and I thank Elliot Simon for sharing it with us.  It's worth reading.

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Two King World News Blogs

The first interview is with Rick Rule---and it's headlined "I'm Incredibly Bullish on Gold and Silver".  The second is with Gerald Celente---and it's entitled "Albert Einstein, World War III---and a Global Collapse"

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Tocqueville Gold Fund - Manager Q&A: August 2014

John Hathaway and Doug Groh, co-portfolio managers of the Tocqueville Gold Fund, answer questions about the fund.

This short commentary, in PDF format, showed up on the tocqueville.com Internet site yesterday sometime.

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Goldcorp president and CEO: Gold miners outshine gold

This brief 2:03 minute video clip appeared on the cnbc.com Internet site at 5:36 p.m. EDT on Wednesday---and I thank reader Ken Hurt for digging it up for us.

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GoldCore: Referendum on Swiss gold would repatriate it from U.K., Canada

Mark O'Byrne's daily commentary on Thursday remarked on the impending gold repatriation referendum in Switzerland and noted that much Swiss gold is vaulted at the Bank of England in London and the Bank of Canada in Ottawa, the latter bank vaulting gold for three other nations as well.

All the info associated with this was posted on the goldcore.com Internet site yesterday---and I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above paragraph of introduction.

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Botswana blocks copper trucks from Congo on Ebola fears

More than 100 trucks hauling copper from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have been denied entry into Botswana over fears of an Ebola outbreak in Congo, leaving the trucks stranded at a border crossing, local media reported on Thursday.

The trucks, en route to South Africa from DRC, have been stranded in neighbouring Zambia since Monday, when they were denied entry into Botswana, the Times of Zambia newspaper reported.

Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday declared an Ebola outbreak in its northern Equateur province, about 1,200 km north of the capital, Kinshasa. Most of its copper mines are in Katanga, about as far from Kinshasa to the southeast as Equateur is to the north.

At least 1,427 people have died of the deadly hemorrhagic virus since it broke out in the remote jungles of southeast Guinea in March. It then spread quickly to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

This Reuters article appeared on the miningweekly.com Internet site yesterday---and it's the second offering of the day from reader B.V.

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Gold likely to regain sheen in India in the second half of 2014: WGC

Despite the possibility of deficient monsoon casting a shadow on the rural demand, riding on overall better sentiments gold is expected to recover its sheen in the second half (July-December) of the year, Somasundaram P.R., managing director (India), World Gold Council (WGC) said.

“The second half will be a better one as compared with the previous year. The first half (January-June) was affected by the 80:20 rule on exports and expectations that there will be a duty cut.

Now, with budget for 2014-15 presented, people are not looking at a date for a duty cut, Somasundaram said, adding: “It has now receded in the minds of the consumers as priority.”

This gold-related news item, filed from New Delhi, was posted on the gulftoday.ae Internet site on Monday---and I found it on the Sharps Pixley website in the wee hours of this morning.

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Aug 28, 2014

Equities Reach Record $66 Trillion as S&P 500 Hits 2,000

Rallies from Brazil to Japan and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index’s first trip above 2,000 sent the value of global equities to a record $66 trillion.

Shares worldwide added more than $2.2 trillion in value since Aug. 7, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Optimism that central banks will support economic growth sent the MSCI All-Country World Index up 3.8 percent from its low this month. It was little changed at 9:40 a.m. in New York today. The S&P 500 has risen for 10 of the last 13 days and the NASDAQ Composite Index is about 10 percent from an all-time high.

Global markets are surmounting crises in Ukraine, the Gaza Strip and Iraq as investors renew bets that stimulus will revive growth. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index posted its biggest two-day gain since April after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi signaled policy makers may consider introducing an asset-buying plan. Japan’s Topix index is near its highest level since January, rebounding from losses earlier this year.

Beam me up, Scotty!  There's no intelligent life down here.  This Bloomberg article appeared on their website at 7:42 a.m. Denver time on Wednesday morning---and I thank West Virginia reader Elliot Simon for today's first story.

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Dr. Marc Faber: More Market Volatility in Next 6-12 Months

Marc Faber, publisher of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, talks about the outlook for global markets. Faber speaks with Matt Miller on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop."

This 5:18 minute video interview appeared on the Bloomberg website on Tuesday sometime---and I thank reader Ken Hurt for sending it along.

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Doug Noland: Reflexivity, Bubbles and Profits

I expect the next crisis to likely revolve around the harsh reality that central banks cannot guarantee robust and liquid markets. Actually, reflexivity ensures that perceptions of limitless cheap liquidity and market backstops ensure the type of excess that inevitably ends in liquidity crisis. When this historic Bubble bursts, corporate profits will be one of the more prominent casualties. And in the fascinating world of Bubble analysis, I can confidently posit that the Fed is oblivious to the unfolding financial stability problem. They clearly don’t appreciate the Bubble they have induced in corporate profits and the ramifications for the true overvaluation of corporate securities generally – both equities and bonds.

Soros has taken a bearish position through the purchase of put options on the S&P 500. Surely he is not alone in looking at relatively inexpensive market insurance for downside protection (as myriad risks become increasingly apparent). These types of instruments tend to exacerbate market volatility. In market declines, those that have sold/written market insurance must dynamically hedge this exposure, which can lead to self-reinforcing selling. At the same time, these types of bearish bets also provide buying power when markets reverse course and rally. This helps to explain why markets (think 1999 or 2007) tend to go into speculative melt-up mode right into the face of deteriorating fundamentals.

It’s also worth noting that the hedge fund industry is generally struggling with performance again this year. Ironically, all the “money” slushing into index products only makes the job of generating “alpha” from stock picking all the more challenging. There are many reasons I suspect the markets have entered a period of heightened volatility.

This commentary by Doug must have been posted on the prudentbear.com Internet site last Saturday, as it wasn't there late on Friday night when I checked it for inclusion in my Saturday column.

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Financial Times still can only hint at market rigging by central banks

In the conclusion of a series of articles about "asset bubbles," Wednesday's Financial Times shows that it is fully aware of market manipulation by central banks but still can't bring itself to put those words together in the same sentence, nor to mention gold in that context.

From yesterday's article, written by the FT's Ralph Atkins:

"Investors have seen central bankers suppressing market volatility; the VIX index of expected U.S. share price movements, known as the 'Wall Street fear gauge,' is at a seven-year low. ...

"With their massively expanded balance sheets, central banks have come to dominate many markets, replacing the private sector. ..."

Too bad that the series ends short of any specification of the most sensitive market central banks are dominating. But mainstream financial journalism in the West can go only so far. Apparently mere hints are supposed to be considered heroic.

This Financial Times article from yesterday is posted in the clear in this GATA release---and I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above preamble.

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Lockdown in Cardiff: City turned into high security 'prison' with 10 mile 'ring of steel' ahead of NATO conference

Cardiff city centre has been turned into a high security ‘prison’ with 10 miles of fencing - which is being dubbed the ‘ring of steel’ - ahead of the NATO conference next week.

Police have erected the nine feet high security fencing around Celtic Manor resort in Newport where Barack Obama, David Cameron and other world leaders will meet in Wales on September 4 and 5, as well as the city centre.

It comes as former foreign office minister, Kim Howells, issued fears that home grown Islamic State terrorists could be planning to attack the 2014 summit.

This rather imposing photo essay appeared on the dailymail.co.uk Internet site on Tuesday at 8:14 p.m. BST on Tuesday---and I thank reader Sean McLaren for bringing it to our attention.

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The DSKing Of Christine Lagarde: IMF Head Formally Charged In Fraud Probe

Ah, the perils of European power politics.

A day after France revealed its new government, the person who so eagerly stepped in after DSK's [Dominique Strauss-Kahn] infamous and choreographed fall from grace and the IMF presidency (not to mention his derailed French presidential ambitions, green-lighting Hollande as what would become the worst French president ever), Christine Lagarde is about to be DSKed herself after "someone" clearly has set their sights on the former French finance minister.

Several hours ago the news hit that a French court has put Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, under a formal probe for negligence in a corruption investigation dating back to her days as finance minister.

To be sure, this development is hardly a shock: recall that it was over a year ago when "IMF's Lagarde Flat Raided Over French 'Payout' Probe" with her ascent to the head of the IMF also riddled with numerous allegations of impropriety involving the Tapie matter. However, until now, such outside interventions were below the radar, and certainly never escalated to anything formal or official. Alas, it now appears that Madame's time has come, even if Lagarde hasn't grasped it just yet.

This very interesting news item got the Zero Hedge treatment yesterday---and it's worth reading.  I thank reader M.A. for sharing it with us.

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Europe will be Russia's hostage over gas supplies for at least another decade

Europe will remain heavily reliant on Russian gas for at least another decade, according to a leading rating agency.

Fitch said a lack of alternative sources meant policymakers would have no choice but to continue buying gas from Russia until at least the mid-2020s and "potentially much longer".

Europe already buys a quarter of its gas from Russia, and analysts expect consumption to increase by a third by 2030 as economies recover from the debt crisis and gas-fired electricity generation replaces old coal and nuclear power.

The fear-mongering never stops.  One thing that this Ukraine/Russia imbroglio has highlighted for me, is that the mainstream Western media have all become propaganda channels for Washington and NATO.  It's shameless, as is this piece that was posted on the telegraph.co.uk Internet site on Wednesday at 3:57 p.m. BST---and it's the first offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Putin says hands tied on gas issues

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday his hands are tied in terms of the dispute over natural gas to Ukraine because of pending court issues.

The Ukrainian government filed a case in an international court of arbitration challenging the gas bills sent by Russian energy company Gazprom. In April, Gazprom sent Ukraine an $11 billion bill for not taking enough gas in 2013 under a take-or-pay contract.

Putin said from Minsk, where he met directly with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, that settling the gas issue would have to wait.

"Right now, we cannot even accept any suggestions regarding preferential terms, given that Ukraine has appealed to the arbitration court," he said.

This short UPI article appeared on their website at 9:08 a.m. EDT?---and it's worth skimming.  It's the second offering of the day from Roy Stephens.

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Russia Set to Fulfill European Gas Contracts Regardless of Situation in Ukraine – Minister

Russia is set to fulfill its European gas delivery contracts, regardless of political situation in transit nations, including Ukraine, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Wednesday.

"I would like to stress that Russia’s stance on this issue remains unchanged: we will make maximum efforts to fulfill our contract obligations to European importers regardless of current political situation in this or that transit nation," the Russian minister said.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk claimed earlier in the day that Russia was planning to «cut all delivery of energy resources to Ukraine» and "halt gas transit in winter completely, even to European Union consumers."

Commenting on the reports, Novak said Russia was "perplexed by statements about Russia’s alleged intentions to halt gas transit to E.U. countries, made by certain Ukrainian politicians."

This news item showed up on the RIA Novosti website at 9:30 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday evening---and I thank reader M.A. for another contribution to today's column.

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Ukraine Says Russian Forces Lead Major New Offensive in East

Determined to preserve the pro-Russian revolt in eastern Ukraine, Russia reinforced what Western and Ukrainian officials described as a stealth invasion on Wednesday, sending armored troops across the border as it expanded the conflict to a new section of Ukrainian territory.

The latest incursion, which Ukraine’s military said included five armored personnel carriers, was at least the third movement of troops and weapons from Russia across the southeast part of the border this week, further blunting the momentum Ukrainian forces have made in weakening the insurgents in their redoubts of Donetsk and Luhansk farther north. Evidence of a possible turn was seen in the panicky retreat of Ukrainian soldiers on Tuesday from a force they said had come over the Russian border.

Russia, which has denied it is helping the insurgents, did not acknowledge the military movements. But the Russians have signaled that they would not countenance a defeat of an insurgency in the heavily Russian eastern part of Ukraine, which would amount to a significant domestic political setback for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in his increasingly fractious relationship with the United States and its European allies.

I mentioned a couple of months back that I wasn't going to post any more stories from The New York Times about the Ukraine/Russia situation because they [along with the WSJ] had become such whores for Washington and NATO.  But I just couldn't help myself today, as they really outdid themselves with this one.  This is such bulls hit, that it's hard to believe that any 'reporter' worth his salt would put their names on such shlock.  I'm not sure whether I should thank Roy Stephens for sending it our way, or not.  And by the way, the headline has been changed to read "Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front"

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Switzerland adopts stricter sanctions on Russia

To prevent Russia from skirting international sanctions via Switzerland, the Swiss government has taken additional steps to reflect sanctions imposed by the EU in connection to the Ukraine crisis.

Taking effect on Wednesday, the new measures strengthen the ordinance that Switzerland adopted in April. The policies – outlined in detail in a statement – affect the finance sector and items requiring an export licence, in particular military supplies and dual-use goods that could be used for civilian as well as military purposes. There is also a ban on imports of such goods from Russia and Ukraine. Another embargo applies to the import and export of key goods used to extract oil and gas.

In addition, the cabinet “acknowledged the measures taken by Russia in respect of agricultural goods” and stressed that “Switzerland is not engaged in any state measures to promote additional Swiss exports to Russia”.

The cabinet said it  would continue to monitor the situation in Ukraine closely, reserving “the right to take further measures depending on how the situation develops”.

So much for Switzerland's famous neutrality.  This article appeared on the swissinfo.ch Internet site  at 5:14 p.m. Europe time on Wednesday afternoon---and I thank South African reader B.V. for finding it for us.

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Anti-Russian rhetoric pre-dated Ukraine crisis, Moscow does not want spats - Lavrov

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the West started its “irrational attacks on Russia long before” this spring’s events in Ukraine, but insisted that Moscow is seeking to avoid “spiraling sanctions” with the EU and the US.

“We are not interested in confrontation, we are not interested in a sanctions spiral,” the minister said in a speech to an audience at the Lake Seliger youth camp in central Russia.

“I can only note that long before events in Ukraine the West’s attacks on Russia assumed an irrational form. It all started long before this spring.”

Lavrov accused Western political leaders of “stirring up” anti-Russian feelings among their electorates, saying that their attitudes towards Russia “require a reevaluation.”

This commentary was posted on the Russia Today website at 1:13 p.m. Moscow time, which was 5:13 a.m. in New York.  It's another offering from Roy S.

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Russia to take rubles, yuan for oil

Russian oil company Gazprom Neft said it agreed Wednesday to accept rubles and the Chinese yuan for crude oil deliveries.

For exports from the Novoportovskoye field in the arctic, the company said it would accept the Russian currency, while China could use its own currency for oil delivered from the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean pipeline.

The switch could help the Russian economy reduce its dependency on the U.S. dollar in an era when Western economies are imposing tough sanctions on Moscow in response to the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

This brief UPI item appeared on their Internet site at 9:57 a.m. yesterday EDT?---and once again I thank Roy Stephens for bringing it to our attention.

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Russian Central Bank prepares bill to create SWIFT analog in Russia

The Russian Central Bank and the government’s financial and economic departments have prepared a bill to create a Russian analog of the SWIFT international financial message system, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev said on Wednesday.

“We have prepared a bill. We have consulted with the banking industry and the Central Bank,” Moiseyev said.

Russia will go ahead with the bill as soon as it becomes clear that the Central Bank is technologically prepared “to transfer all operations to internal processing inside Russia.”

Central Bank First Deputy Chairman Georgy Luntovsky said in July that SWIFT was discussing a possibility with the Russian regulator to establish an operational center in Russia. SWIFT Director for Russia, CIS and Mongolia Matvei Gering confirmed this information at that time.

This very interesting news story put in an appearance on the ITAR-TASS website at 3:06 p.m. Moscow time on Wednesday afternoon---and it's certainly worth reading.  I thank 'David in California' for passing it around yesterday.

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David Stockman: Bombs Away Over Syria! Washington Has Gone Stark Raving Mad

America’s spanker-in-chief is at it again—threatening to bomb Syria owing to the uncivilized actions of its inhabitants. And when it comes to Syria, Washington avers that there are punishable malefactors virtually everywhere within its borders.

Exactly one year ago Obama proposed to take Bashar Al Assad to the woodshed because he had allegedly unleashed a vicious chemical attack on his own citizens. That was all pretext, of course, because even the CIA refused to sign-off on the flimsy case for Assad’s culpability at the time—-a reluctance corroborated since then by the considerable evidence that hundreds of Syrian civilians were murdered during a false flag operation staged by the rebels with help from Turkey. The aim of the rebels, of course, was to activate American tomahawk missiles and bombers in behalf of “regime change”, which was also the stated goal of the Obama Administration.

Now the White House is threatening to bomb Syria again, but this time its “regime change” objective has been expanded to include both sides! In 12 short months what had been the allegedly heroic Sunni opposition to the “brutal rule” of the Assad/Alawite minority has transmuted into the “greatest terrorist threat ever”, according to the Secretary of Defense.

So Obama has already unleashed the drones and surveillance apparatus to identify targets of attack that will help bring down a regime in northern and eastern Syria—the so-called Islamic State—which did not even exist a year ago. And a regime that is now armed to the teeth with America’s own latest and greatest weaponry as previously supplied to the disintegrated Iraqi army and the Syrian rebels trained by the CIA in Jordan.

This commentary by David showed up on his Internet site yesterday sometime---and it's worth reading as well.  I thank Roy Stephens for his second-last contribution to today's column.

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Iran speeds weapons deliveries to U.S. ally in Iraq

U.S. officials are taking a wary view of the disclosure this week that Iran – one of four countries the United States accuses of supporting terrorism – has begun arming the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq, as the Kurds scramble to combat the threat posed by ISIS.

ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, has seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq, and recently came close to overrunning Erbil, the capital of the KRG in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region. It was the immediate threat to Erbil, where the U.S. has a number of diplomats stationed, that prompted President Obama to launch airstrikes against ISIS.

While the Kurds are grateful for American intervention, they also say the central Iraqi government in Baghdad has starved them of cash and military hardware in this time of grave threat. “We asked for weapons and Iran was the first country to provide us with weapons and ammunition," KRG President Massoud Barzani said during an appearance in Erbil on Tuesday with Iran’s foreign minister.

It's hard to know what is fact---and what is propaganda.  This news item appeared on the foxnews.com Internet site on Wednesday sometime---and I thank reader M.A. for his final offering in today's column.

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Moscow-Beijing Cooperation Important for International Security

Constructive relations between Russia and China are important for international stability and security, the head of Russia’s General Staff of the Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov, said after talks with his Chinese counterpart Fang Fenghui and Vice Central Military Commission Chairman Fan Changlong in Beijing Wednesday.

“We put great importance on the development of military links with China. Russia highly appreciates the state of and the prospects for the military departments’ cooperation. Today, this is especially important,” Gerasimov told the press.

Among other issues, the general staff chiefs discussed regional security.

“The military and political state of the region is characterized by the high pace and contradictory character of events. On the one hand, the intention to search for new forms of political and economic interaction is increasing. On the other, there is a political tension in the region Gerasimov said.

This rather short article showed up on the RIA Novosti website at 7:59 p.m. Moscow time on their Wednesday evening, which was 11:59 a.m. in New York.

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Two King World News Blogs

The first interview is with Dr. Philippa Malmgren---and it's headlined: "Ex-White House Official - Tragedy, Chaos and Human Suffering".  The second is with Keith Barron---and it's entitled:  "We Are Now Living in a  World That is Teetering on the Brink".

[Please direct any questions or comments about what is said in these interviews by either Eric King or his guests to them, and not to me. Thank you. - Ed]

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Chinese-made U.S. military coins should be outlawed, Stilp says

Learning that U.S. Navy commissioning coins were made in China is more than Middle Paxton Twp. resident Gene Stilp can tolerate.

The citizen activist doesn't like seeing the "Made in China" label on any product, knowing it signals the continued erosion of America's manufacturing base. But having the United States military buying Chinese-made commemorative coins is an insult to those who wear its uniforms, he said.

On Monday, Stilp asked U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., to push for a federal law barring any branch of the military from buying collectible coins minted outside the nation's borders.

This interesting article was posted on the pennlive.com Internet site on Tuesday evening EDT---and I thank Elliot Simon for bringing it to our attention.

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Gold Switzerland interview: Alasdair Macleod on the reasons for owning gold

GoldMoney research director Alasdair Macleod, interviewed by financial journalist Lars Schall for Matterhorn Asset Management's Gold Switzerland, offers what he considers the three primary reasons for owning gold.

But just as interesting, Macleod argues that the London gold market is declining because of its lack of transparency, that gold will remain money if only because Asia increasingly says so, that countries are beginning to realize that they cannot be independent if they rely on the U.S. dollar and U.S.-controlled payment systems, and that Germany's Bundesbank has made itself ridiculous by its inability to recover its gold from custody by the United States.

Schall's interview with Macleod is 17 minutes long and can be viewed at the goldswitzerland.com Internet site.  I thank Chris Powell for wordsmithing the above paragraphs of introduction.

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London Metal Exchange dismissed from U.S. price-fixing lawsuits

A judge has dismissed London Metal Exchange Ltd as a defendant from U.S. antitrust litigation accusing banks and commodity companies of conspiring to drive up aluminum prices by restricting supply, hurting manufacturers and purchasers.

In a decision made public on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan concluded that the LME was an "organ" of the U.K. government, and therefore immune from the lawsuit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

Forrest acknowledged that her decision may at first glance seem "somewhat surprising and counterintuitive," noting that the LME is a privately-held, for-profit company subject to extensive regulation. But she said the relevant case law "tips decidedly" toward a grant of immunity, noting that the LME is required by law to perform "the decidedly public function of market regulation".

This Reuters piece, filed from New York, put in an appearance on their website at 2:35 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon EDT---and I found it on the gata.org Internet site yesterday.

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Absolute change needed to mine Wits basin’s stranded 1.1 billion gold ounces

South Africa’s Witwatersrand basin contains another 1.3-billion ounces of gold, almost as much gold as has been mined there since 1886 – but miners can only get to another 200-million ounces of it using today’s mining methods.

If the industry does not come up with a new way of mining, more than a trillion dollars worth of gold will not be mined, because the 1.1-billion ounces in question are either below the cutoff for the current mining method, or they are at depths where there are no technical solutions to get to mine those ounces.

Moreover, safety has reached a plateau and unless significant change is made to what creates this plateau, death and injury in mines will continue, which is totally unacceptable.

There is thus an absolute need to change – and senior VP technology and projects Shaun Newberry is at the forefront of an AngloGold Ashanti move that could result in all three billion Wits basin ounces being mined and not merely 1.9 billion of them.

A much higher gold price wouldn't hurt, either.  But as reader B.V. pointed out in an e-mail exchange we had yesterday, that's not the real issue here.  This very interesting article appeared on the miningweekly.com Internet site yesterday sometime---and my thanks go out to reader B.V. for bringing it to my attention---and now to yours.

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Koos Jansen: Comparison of Chinese silver price is complicated by 17% tax

Gold researcher and GATA consultant Koos Jansen reports that silver prices reported from Shanghai have been including a 17-percent sales tax, complicating their comparison to prices outside the country. Jansen writes that he'll be investigating this subject.

His commentary was posted on the Singapore-based Internet site bullionstar.com Internet site at 5:00 p.m. local time on their Tuesday afternoon.  It's another article I found on the gata.org Internet site yesterday.

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What the Next Gold Confiscation Will Look Like

You may be familiar with the story of how the U.S. government confiscated gold bullion and then made owning it illegal back in 1933.

Actually this event is more accurately termed a nationalization. Americans were forced under harsh penalties to sell their gold at an artificially low “official price.” If it were an outright confiscation, the government would have just taken the gold without giving anything in return. But no matter how you label it, the end result was the same: the theft of purchasing power.

Many have speculated that the U.S. government could once again turn to gold confiscation/nationalization if it became desperate enough. These fears are not unfounded given the abysmal financial situation of the U.S. government that only continues to get worse, coupled with a total lack of political will to cut spending.

But would the US government really turn to a 1933-style grab again?

I would argue that they wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean the threat to your gold has diminished. Quite the opposite.

This commentary by International Man senior editor Nick Giambruno appeared on his Internet site yesterday---and is certainly a must read.

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